Japanese hotel

This Japanese hotel room costs $ 1 per night. The trap ? You must broadcast your stay live

(CNN) – When Tetsuya Inoue, 27, started running Asahi Ryokan – a hotel in the Japanese city of Fukuoka owned by his grandmother – he wondered how he could improve business in the new economy.

Inoue had an idea: what if he could use the internet to attract a new audience and a new source of income?

Now, guests coming to Asahi Ryokan have the option of paying just 100 (about $ 1) per night to stay the night – if they agree to have their entire stay broadcast live.

Room number 8 at Asahi Ryokan costs only 100 (about $ 1) per night.

Courtesy of Asahi Ryokan

That said, there are some restrictions on how live streaming works. Inoue tells CNN Travel that the feed is video-only, so guests have privacy in their conversations or phone calls. His YouTube channel is called One Dollar Hotel.

Guests are allowed to turn off the lights and the bathroom is out of camera range.

“It’s a very old ryokan and I was looking for a new business model,” says Inoue, who started running the hotel last year. “Our hotel is cheaper, so we need some added value, something special that everyone will talk about.”

So far, four guests have accepted it since Inoue started offering the offer last month.

ryokan asahi

A sign in the room that is broadcast live warns guests of the dos and don’ts of their stay.

Courtesy of Asahi Ryokan

“Young people today don’t care much about privacy,” adds Inoue. “Some of them say it’s good to be [watched] for just one day. “

And while $ 1 rooms are clearly a starter, Inoue thinks beyond the cost of a single night. The YouTube channel has already passed 1,000 subscribers. Once he has accumulated over 4000 hours of viewing, he will be able to advertise and monetize the channel.

On days when the room is vacant or no one is broadcasting, Inoue will post a live broadcast of himself working in the ryokan office. Signs in Japanese and English are displayed in front of the camera to notify viewers as he exits the room.

asahi ryokan fukuoka japan

Hotel manager Tetsuya Inoue himself appears live during coverage interruptions.

Asahi Ryokan / YouTube

So other than the possibility of having thousands of foreigners watching your REM cycle on the internet, what’s the incentive to go to Fukuoka?

The pretty seaside town is known for its incredible food. In addition to freshly caught local seafood, Fukuoka is also the home of the popular Ichiran chain, which offers delicious tonkotsu pork ramen. Additionally, the famous Fukuoka Art Museum reopened in early 2019 after three years of renovations.

Asahi Ryokan, 2-6-2 Kiyokawa, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, +81 090 5212 3216

An earlier version of this article stated that there was one room available for the live broadcast, but there are actually two.

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